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Old August 8th, 2009 #2
drinking tea
Bev's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: England
Posts: 38,247

This report seems to hint it was the UAF getting nicked.

"RIOT police made 31 arrests tonight as they fought running battles with rival protesters as racial tensions spilled over on the streets of Birmingham.

Violence broke out in the city centre between a controversial group who claim to be campaigning against Muslim extremists and anti-fascist activists.

The groups had held vocal but peaceful protests in separate parts of the city centre until violence erupted in New Street just before 7pm.

Terrified shoppers cowered in Primark and Saturday night revellers fled in panic as hundreds of police, some clad in full riot gear, struggled to keep the peace.

The unrest flared after a pressure group calling themselves Casuals United organised a demonstration against Muslim extremists.

The group, which claims to be anti-BNP, were formed after radical Muslims caused outrage by protesting against returning British troops in Luton earlier this year.

But anti-fascists organised a rival rally after claiming the Casuals are made up of hardcore socccer hooligans intent on causing racial unrest.

Their protest took place next to Birmingham’s Bullring, while the Casuals gathered outside the council house in Victoria Square.

It us unclear what sparked the violent skirmishes, but riot police were soon involved in a large number of incidents and at one point were forced to seal off New Street with a steel barrier.

Other police officers were seen running ran across Corporation Street, desperately trying to keep the opposing sets of protesters apart.

Scared shoppers fled in all directions as chaos and confusion descended on the city centre.

By around 8.30pm police had restored order but tensions remained high.

Emily Bridgewater was buying clothes with her mum in Primark on New Street when violence broke out. She said: “Everything seemed fine until suddenly it all kicked off outside and there was stampeding and screaming.

“We ended up being locked in Primark, the shutters came down and the alarms went off as the riot police tried to regain control of the street.

‘‘It was very frightening.”

Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood condemned both sets of protesters. The Labour MP had previously called for the Casuals rally to be banned after the Sunday Mercury first revealed the plans.

He said: “I predicted this would happen when the Casuals announced that they were going to protest.

“Lots of innocent people, children and families, could have been hurt in this idiotic incident and I wholeheartedly condemn both sides for taking part in these scenes which have brought shame on Birmingham.

“I condemn the Casuals for organising their protest and inciting this fighting but I equally condemn the anti-fascist campaigners who rose to the bait – that was particularly stupid.

“People have a democratic right to protest. But perhaps in future West Midlands police should look at holding sensitive demonstrations like these on separate days. That way they might avoid the scenes which have blighted our city centre tonight

Reads to me like the unwashed started it.

Above post is my opinion unless it's a quote.

Last edited by Bev; August 8th, 2009 at 04:30 PM. Reason: add picture